Wildlife & Habitat

Osprey - Jim Cruce_512x219

In addition to its diversity of birds, the Steigerwald National Wildlife Refuge is also home to over 20 species of mammals, 15 species of reptiles and amphibians, and a wide variety of insects, fish and plants.

See this Watchable Wildlife Brochure for a complete list.  

  • Wildlife Viewing Tips

    Binos - Ridgefield NWR Friends_150x118

    Every season brings new discoveries and the patient observer will be well rewarded with wildlife observation and photographic opportunities.

    Learn more

  • Birds

    Kestrel - Roger Windemuth_150x118

    Two-thirds of the bird species seen in Clark County have been observed at Steigerwald Lake NWR, making it an excellent birding destination. Birds typically found on the east side of Washington State periodically use the Columbia River Gorge as a migration corridor. Strays from the eastside include kingbirds, phoebes, Lewis's woodpeckers, burrowing owls, and nighthawks.

    Learn about Purple Martins

  • Mammals

    Racoon - Kenneth Meyer_150x118

    While birds are easily seen or heard at Steigerwald Lake NWR, mammals are much more shy and fearful of human presence. Common sightings that visitors report are deer, rabbit, raccoon, and squirrels. However, the quiet and attentive visitor may be treated with a sighting of a long tailed weasel running across the path or a coyote in a distant field hunting for rodents.

  • Amphibians and Reptiles

    Frog - Lyn Topinka_150x118

    Frogs, salamanders, turtles, lizards and snakes all find a home at Steigerwald NWR. On a warm day you might get a chance to see some of these cold blooded creatures as they come out to find warmth. Listen for the croaking of chorus frogs in the spring and observe painted turtles piled up on stumps in the water on any sunny day. Please do not handle any of these creatures as they are very sensitive to our touch.

  • Fish

    Coho - USFWS_150x118

    The high ground to the west of the trail contains the elevated channel of Gibbons Creek, connecting spawning grounds to the Columbia River. A fish ladder can be observed from the River Overlook. Before the construction of this channel, the flood control levee created a complete barrier to fish passage. Coho salmon, steelhead, and Pacific and western brook lamprey are once again using this channel.

  • Habitat

    Oak Tree - USFWS_150x118

    Due to demands for energy and agriculture, much has been changed along the Columbia River. However, these habitats are still being restored and managed to support the wildlife that has always called this area home. Water is pumped in and out of this historic lake bed for waterfowl, and fields are mowed for grazing geese. Riparian areas and Oak stands are continuously being conserved and restored.